Boys basketball: Unbeaten Lake City holds off Lourdes

The Class AA state-ranked Lake City boys basketball team was battling a 16-day layoff and illness when it rolled into Rochester on Tuesday night.

The Class AA state-ranked Lake City boys basketball team was battling a 16-day layoff and illness when it rolled into Rochester on Tuesday night.

The Tigers may not have been at the top of their game, but they still managed to improved to 10-0 overall with a 58-53 road win over Rochester Lourdes.

"We kind of just found a way to win," Lake City coach Greg Berge said. "We've had a long layoff, 16 days. And we didn't have the same energy because we've had some guys sick."

Junior Brady Kuchinka sparked Lake City with 18 points and senior forward Matt Lanning added 15 off the bench.

"Eli (Custer) just got back (from illness)," Kuchinka said. "We weren't playing at our best. We were getting some rust off us, that's for sure."


If Lake City wasn't at 100 percent, Lourdes coach Jim Daly certainly didn't notice.

"There's no rust there," he said.

"They just shot it well," Daly added. "When you have a kid who comes off the bench and scores 15, you have a pretty good team."

Lake City struggled in the first half, shooting 32 percent (8-for-25), and the Tigers had a slim 23-21 lead at the break. But the Tigers broke out over the final 18 minutes. They shot 50 percent from the floor (9-for-18) and made 13 of 18 free throws.

Kuchinka, the team's leading scorer, set the tone with an early 3-pointer in the second half. Lanning, Custer and Jesse Oliver also hit threes in the half, two on dishes from Kuchinka.

"We had some guys step up and hit some big shots," Berge said. "Brady played well and had a good floor game."

The coach also cited reserves Lanning, for his scoring, and Austin Ebert, for his help defending on the inside.

The Tigers needed all the inside help they could get in trying to contain James Ustby. The 6-foot-4 senior center was tough for the shorter Lake City squad to control. Ustby, scoring all his points on the inside, had 24 points and 14 rebounds.


"He had a nice game," Daly said of Ustby.

But the Tigers made Ustby battle for his points. And while he was scoring the bulk of Lourdes' points the first 30 minutes, the rest of the Eagles struggled to contribute.

Ustby scored 22 of Lourdes' first 35 points, but when he scored on the inside with 5:36 left, Lake City still led 45-35.

"We did a pretty good job on him," Kuchinka said. "And we wanted to make the other guys shoot the ball."

"We were too one dimensional," Daly said.

After Lake City took a 49-35 lead, Lourdes senior forward Nick Hanson hit two straight 3-pointers to cut the lead to eight. Then after Lake City hit a free throw, Hanson, who finished with 12 points, just rattled out a 3-pointer.

"That's just the way basketball goes," Daly said.

Lourdes had one more spurt to pull within 54-50 in the final minute before the Tigers hit four straight free throws to seal the win.


"Lourdes plays good defense and they're physical," Berge said. "Our guys played good 'D' too. We got some stops when we needed to."

The win moves Lake City to 7-0 in the Gold Division of the HVL.

"We're not looking ahead at all," Kuchinka said. "We're just going to play them one game at a time."

The loss drops Lourdes to 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the Gold Division. The Eagles have now lost to three state-ranked foes with the other setbacks coming to Breck and Rushford-Peterson.

"We have to continue to get better," Daly said. "There are no moral victories."

Lourdes plays its next five games on the road starting with a Friday night contest at Pine Island.

Lake City 58, Lourdes 53



Austin Ebert 2 P; Brady Kuchinka 18 P, 2 3-PT; Eli Custer 7 P, 8 R, 1 3-PT; Jesse Oliver 7 P, 4 R, 1 3-PT; Luke Hartzell 2 P; Matt Kjos 2 P, 4 R; Matt Lanning 15 P, 3 3-PT; Mitch Marien 5 P.


Zach Hillman 7 P, 8 R, 1 3-PT; Nick Hanson 12 P, 2 3-PT; James Ustby 24 P, 14 R; Carter Greguson 4 P; Noah Hillman 3 P, 1 3-PT; Daniel Galkowski 3 P.

Halftime:LOUR 21, LC 23.

Free throws:LC 13-18, LOUR 6-13. Field goals:LC 19-46. LOUR: 21-56.

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